TAMPA, Fla. - Major movie theaters in the Tampa Bay area have committed to increased security in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado shooting massacre, but moviegoers might not even notice it. That's because many of the extra officers will be undercover, in addition to the visible patrols outside the theater complexes.
"We will increase patrols around Tampa theaters in abundance of caution," said Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor, in a statement.
"Since the Colorado tragedy, some theaters have contacted the department to hire daytime off-duty officers as well," Castor said.
Greg Bird, formerly of Aurora, Colorado, said he made sure none of his friends or relatives was involved in the shootings. The Tampa resident then went out and bought a pair of tickets for Friday's Batman screening.
"I doubt that's going to happen again," Bird said.
AMC Theaters announced it would ban any patrons from wearing costumes or carrying fake weapons inside its buildings. But the company isn't canceling any screenings of the Dark Knight movie.
"Our show schedules will not change," AMC said in a statement.
Still, some people going to the movies were alarmed by the incident, especially regarding security. Britton McGhee brought his wife and two kids to the veterans AMC complex Friday afternoon, and said he would welcome metal detectors at theater entrances.
"I wouldn't say that would be a bad idea," McGhee said. "It already costs nine dollars to go see a movie. You might as well feel secure while you're doing it," he said.
Nicole Cruz of Tampa has a two-year old son that loves everything superhero, including Batman. Wearing a cape, the little boy walked out the theater with his parents after seeing the Ice Age cartoon film, not Batman. He's too young for the Dark Knight, his Mom said.
Cruz was appalled to hear that a three-month old child was among the injured in the Aurora shootings.
"Very surprised. I understand that people really want to see a movie, but get a sitter," Cruz said.
Her husband, Reny Cruz, said he's concerned about theater security, but he's not ready to give up more personal freedoms because of the theater massacre.
"I kind of think it was a one time deal in Colorado," Cruz said. "I really don't want to see metal detectors anywhere."
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